Not all the books I've read, just the ones worth reading. Books that had an outsized impact on me are listed in red.
Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography - Jobs is perhaps the most Zen entrepreneur we've ever seen. This is the best case for why rationality does not always trump intuition.
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City - What shocked me is how even well-intentioned policy can make the situation worse.
Politics Is For Power: How to Move Beyond Political Hobbyism, Take Action, and Make Real Change - Most useful as a comparison between transactional politics of the mid-20th century and our modern ideological tendencies.
Why We're Polarized - Klein achieved a great feat in managing to weave together academic theory with political journalism. This is remarkable as a survey book on the subject of polarization.
The Inner Game of Tennis - My favorite book in 2020 despite having never played tennis.
Energy Trading & Investing: Trading, Risk Management, and Structuring Deals in the Energy Markets, Second Edition - A good intro to energy trading that helped me see why renewables have come to dominate the power market.
Red Plenty - I'm fascinated by 20th-century USSR history and this book is the best way to experience what 1950s Soviet life was like.
The Wisdom of Insecurity - My first introduction to Alan Watts—Eastern spirituality made accessible to a Western audience.
Upending American Politics: Polarizing Parties, Ideological Elites, and Citizen Activists from the Tea Party to the Anti-Trump Resistance - Edited by my favorite political scientist, this book is vital to understanding US electoral politics in the last decade.
The Enchiridion - Another Stoic classic, but not my favorite.
Zen in the Art of Archery - My first introduction to Zen.
When Breath Becomes Air - A useful memento mori.
Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don't - You could probably just watch the TED talk—but this has a few interesting ideas nevertheless.
Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World - Cal Newport at his best—motivated me to delete my social media at the time.
Post-Broadcast Democracy: How Media Choice Increases Inequality in Political Involvement and Polarizes Elections - Before Facebook wrecked democracy, cable TV did us in.
Red Fighting Blue: How Geography and Electoral Rules Polarize American Politics - I really liked the bit in this about how social issues coupled with the American eletoral map exacerbated polarization (see Ch. 4).
What the Best College Teachers Do - I read this before I taught CS50—it made me understand that a teacher helps students discover the truth rather than just tells them it.
Meditations - The best book on stoicism.
How Democracies Die - The most important part of this is the bit about informal rules; our democracy is more than its legal code.
Barking Up the Wrong Tree - Demonstrates that achieving excellence is less about some set of ubiqutious traits and more about optimizing for your own individual needs.
The Book of Not - An infuriating sequel to Nervous Conditions but worth reading because it's Dangarembga.
Purple Hibiscus - An engaging Nigerian drama.
Nervous Conditions - My favorite bildungsroman, and one of those rare books where the meaning changes every time you read it.
Fahrenheit 451 - "You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them."
The Windup Girl - I read so long ago that I can't remember anything other than that it was certainly worthy of the Hugo Award.
Got recommendations? Let me know!